I bought a new phone last night – a Droid Bionic. I do see the irony in getting a phone called ‘Bionic’ when many a person with diabetes calls themselves bionic with the amount of technology connected to their body at a given moment. After a day I cam safely say this was a wise upgrade. Naturally any phone that is part of the current generation will seem like a leap into the future compared to my previous phone but this thing is legit. More formal impressions of the Bionic will come in a week or so but I have something else to discuss in these sentences.
Consider the nature of the cell phone market. Technology is constantly evolving. Companies are competing for the latest and greatest goods and services (devices and data plans) with the goal of securing a long-term customer. You know, two year contracts and all that jazz.
Switching to a new device or a new carrier, while incurring the wrath of the early termination fee is not impossible. We are free to evaluate options and make changes to our services without much hassle. Considering how fast these phones are technologically outdated it’s a wonder we aren’t encouraged to buy a new phone every 6 months. Of course I do know a few people who behave like that anyway.
I bring this up because while there are a few similarities, the durable medical goods industry would do well to pick up a few more characteristics of the cell phone industry.
I understand the difficult role the FDA has in this equation. We’re talking about a device that is responsible for delivering life-saving medicine every minute. You can’t just announce a new insulin pump every 9 months and expect it to hit the market immediately. Aside from the FDA there’s also the insurance industry to stiffle upgrades. I get it. I really do. The FDA can’t rubber stamp a new device every day and the insurance industry is…well it is what it is. But the same set of market conditions that are pushing the cell phone industry forward are the same set of conditions missing from the insulin pump industry.
Wouldn’t it be nice if insulin pump manufacturers were competing for our business on the scale of Verizon and Sprint? Wouldn’t it be nice if choices weren’t limited to what our insurance allowed based on illogical calculations, misunderstandings and the position of Saturn? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an efficient and responsible approval process that fostered innovation?
I’m preaching to the choir and probably typing pure bollocks (blame Ricky Gervais for that one) but I can’t help but think about things like this as my Verizon Sales Associate fumbled through the setup process on my new phone.
Honestly, how hard is it to install a SIM Card?